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The company's Connected Services Sandbox can be used to create mashups that combine voice, e-mail, instant messaging, mapping, and search.
Microsoft's Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software update, unveiled on Monday at the NXTcomm 2007 conference in Chicago, is just one of many products designed for telecom carriers to deliver next-generation services.
The trick is blending traditional telecom technologies with Web 2.0 applications.
It's no secret that carriers are constantly challenged to entice their subscribers with better, faster services. Microsoft thinks it has found the answer with an initiative that blends the traditional and the cutting edge. The result is Microsoft's Connected Services Sandbox initiative, which is designed to unite independent software vendors, developers, systems integrators, network equipment providers, and telecom service providers in developing and testing new communications services, and then bringing them to market.
Since the initiative's introduction last year, more than 120 managed network mashups have been created, according to Microsoft. The mashups integrate telecom technologies with Web services; they're offered through a software-as-a-service model, across any type of network or device.
For example, one software developer named Deepak Sharma created a collaborative logistics mashup -- basically a Web portal -- for shipping companies that want to share unused capacity in trucks. The mashup is meant to help shippers cut costs by using location information and communications like text messaging to find nearby trucks that are going to their destination. Sharma used BT's next-generation IP-based network and Microsoft's Connected Services Framework, server-based software for connecting content services and networks, to create his prototype.
At NXTcomm this week Microsoft's partners, including Aepona, jNetX, Nortel Networks, and Tech Mahindra, will demonstrate other mashup services that combine voice, e-mail, instant messaging, mapping, and search. Some examples include:
Mixed communications: Call logs with presence information, click-to-call service from any phone, and intelligent call screening.
Managed direct marketing: An e-mail direct marketing platform that triggers instant communication between consumers and merchants.
Unified communications: Call-back, routing, and log services with instant messaging.
Buddy finder: Locating a "buddy" using a mobile phone.
According to Microsoft, these mashups "bring together communications applications with content from a variety of sources to deliver a compelling experience to the end user."
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